“I’ve got a plan,” he murmured near her ear, “and it’ll only be nice for me!”
With a shrill cry, the woman grabbed at her hair as she was dragged down the hallway.
The man ignored her as her neck whipped and jerked for freedom. He could hear the heavy breaths of struggle escape her lungs rapidly, and it fueled him. There was no greater trophy than the streetwalkers. Lonely, young, but easily missed, they were the perfect candidates for consumption.
Something that always fascinated the Vampire Lord was just how quickly they begged for their lives. How could one beg for something as mundane and pathetic as wandering pathways and alleys for money? Why was the routine worth the fight and struggle? Why did his victims hold hope for release?
He was simply saving them, he thought. He was choosing to cut their disappointments and meaningless lives shorter. Instead of dying cold and hungry, they would die warm and full! Additionally, the Vampire Lord stuck to the belief that his capturing of them gave the lowlifes purpose. Waiting on others to buy their next meals until they rotted down to dust was no longer to be their fate when left in his hands.
No! Those he found worthy of his time and company would be far more than that! Why, they would serve as his meal! That was the greatest gift! All their lives, the streetwalkers went on about asking for a hand in a loaf of bread or two just so they could survive the week, but he always offered something better! An end to their suffering!
Sure, his victims screamed and howled to be let free, but the Vampire Lord knew within the depths of their beings, the puny creatures hadn’t wanted that at all. With their constant whining and crying about starvation and unfairness, his gift of death was a marvel—a Godsend!
“You should be thanking me!” he snarled. “You will no longer walk the streets in hunger or pain. You will no longer stumble along hoping for a rich man to sweep you off your feet—in fact, I have! Word in the alley specifies my swooning was exactly what you hoped for, Maribeth.”
At the sound of her name, the woman’s cries ceased. No one had spoken her name since she was a girl. It had always been what her suitors wanted, and it was never a true name. She oddly recalled in that moment that most men referred to her as ‘Sweet Cheeks’ more than any other pet name. The only people to have known her government name were those that wandered the streets with her.
Have the sold me out? she wondered. I thought his existence was a tale and nothing more.
“Far from it, my dear,” he laughed with a sinister smile. “Tales stand true. It is the direction in which they are woven that hold falsehoods. As you can see with those glassed-over eyes, I am not hulking, I do not possess a hunch at my spine, and I am certainly not a sickly shade of grey. If you remember, you fawned over me like a virgin wanting to defy her father. According to you, I am quite dazzling in the moonlight, and I hold a charm unseen.”
“You tricked me,” she managed. “You tricked me into your home—”
“I simply gave you as you asked. Did you not ask for a warm bed? A fresh meal? I even offered you that bath you hadn’t seen in nearly half a decade! I hardly believe that my kindness was a trick!”
The woman screeched as the Vampire Lord pulled her into a room. She understood that her fate would be death, and she understood that it would not be pleasant. What she did not understand was why this death had chosen her? What about her miserable appearance and way of life made such a gnarly monster take her?
“Ah, wonderful! Another simple answer for you, dear Maribeth! There were several factors in my choosing you. First, you were left unattended by those you consider you street mates. Second, despite the years of decay, dirt, and grime, I found your complexion to be…alluring; your thinned jawline, sunken cheeks, pale as snow skin, eyes of jade, and hair of royal rubies were all the perfect match!”
He can read my—
“I can! I can hear what you think as it comes to you!”
Maribeth gave a stuttered gasp of disbelief.
“There’s nothing to be frightened of. You assume that you will be dead by the sun’s rise.” The Vampire Lord released the woman’s hair as she settled on the floor against the side of a bed.
When their eyes met, the flash of hazel she’d been drawn to pulled her mind in once again. She was hypnotized by the ageless angles and curves in the Vampire Lord’s face just as much as she was his irises. As she looked further, however, a realization slapped her across the face. If eyes were a window to the soul, the mesmerizing creature before her would have many.
At first glance, the Vampire Lord’s hazel eyes had been an enchanting mystery, but they had not been overly extraordinary. Hazel or green eyes were a rarity in her parts, and anything above her normal sights caused an instantaneous intrigue. However, as she became more enticed by the Vampire Lord’s appearance, clouded swirls and echoed greens encouraged her to lean forward.
Her yearning for something macabre had led her here, and should death be her prize, she suddenly wanted to make the most of it. Maribeth wanted the lust-filled monster to hold her and have her as he wished. Whether it be for a meal or other means, she would gladly serve her purpose.
But why do I suddenly want this? she queried with a rapidly beating heart.
“Another gift to you, dear Maribeth,” the Vampire Lord offered. “My seduction brings you pleasure before the pain. It is the least I could do, you see. I understand this event is quite traumatic, and a struggle would only prove worse for us both. So,” the Vampire Lord curled his left fingers into their palm and dragged the flat of his hand down her jaw, “let me take it all away.”
Maribeth nodded slowly, uncertainty heating her chest and flooding her cheeks with a flush that matched her hair.
“One more, small thing, my dear,” he said. “I do not wish to kill you. That was never my intention. Despite my hatred and loathing of your kind, I have always had the decision for you.”
Maribeth stiffened but remained silent.
“You will not die by the next sun’s rise. Instead,” he cooed, “my dear Maribeth, you shall be reborn!”
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